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Man killed ex-wife in Shaw striking 19 times with axe

A man who plotted the brutal murder of his wife after being told to leave and sell their matrimonial home has been given a life sentence.

Manchester Crown Court Crown Square heard Stephen Booth had been told he had to leave his house which he had shared with his wife Susan Booth before she left in 2017.

After the 64-year-old was told she was going to get half of the money from the sale he planned her callous and horrific murder.

In May this year he booked a taxi to her home on Hillside Avenue in Shaw, Oldham, waited for her to finish work at the Royal Oldham Hospital and struck her with an axe 19 times on her driveway.

He rang the police and told them he had committed a murder.

When no officers turned up he walked to a taxi company and went home, before ringing again to confess to murder.

Prosecutor Davie Toal revealed what happened next.

He said: “At 8.49pm the defendant made the first of two calls to the police.

“He said ‘hello there has been a murder at 37 Hillside Avenue in Shaw in Oldham, we will need the police please.’

“When asked what had happened he said ‘that is all I know.’”

“Twenty minutes later at 9.09pm the defendant walked into the office of Crompton and Royton car and requested a taxi.

“A minute later the taxi arrived for him.

“When the driver asked what he had been doing he said he had been to see a friend.

“When he arrived home the defendant called 999 again.

“‘He said ‘hello there my name is Stephen Booth, I just called to confess to murder in Shaw, it is my wife I have killed.’

“‘I am in my home address if you want to come over and arrest me or whatever you do.’”

He said when police arrived they found him still on the phone to the operator and with the axe in his jacket pocket.

Mr Toal said when interviewed Booth admitted he had planned to kill her and said if he went to prison it would “not be any more painful than the pain I am going through now.”

The prosecutor also revealed what had happened during the course of their divorce

He said: “Susan Booth was 62 years of age at the time of her death, she worked as health care assistant at the Royal Oldham Hospital.

“They had been married since 1980, the marriage broke down in 2017.

“Susan booth moved into accommodation in Ashton then lived on Hillside Avenue.

“The defendant lived in the matrimonial home on Churchfields in Audenshaw.

“He frustrated the process of selling the matrimonial home.”

He said he had been informed the day of the murder he had to leave it and then decided to kill his wife booking at taxi at 1pm for that evening.

Booth appeared in court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to murder.

Representing him, defence counsel Ian McMeekin said his client wished to apologise to family members in the room.

The court heard the pair had had two children together and three grandchildren.

He said: “He has asked me to say on his behalf because he is not able to say it how sorry he is to the family of Susan.”

He said Booth had no previous convictions and had led a “blameless” life before this working as a self employed builder.

Imposing a sentence, judge Patrick Field QC described the killing as “brutal and shocking.”

He said: “You have pleaded guilty to the murder of your own wife Susan Booth on the 4th of May this year.

“You murdered her in cold blood on the driveway of her own home, striking her at least 19 times about the head with an axe you had brought with you.

“This was a planned and premeditated attack with the intention to kill her even though she was blameless and had done nothing to provoke your extraordinary and brutal actions.

“The killing of Susan Booth was brutal and shocking.”

He jailed him for life ordering him to serve a minimum term of 22 and a half years.

Booth, of the Paddocks, Churchfield in Audenshaw, made no reaction as he was taken out of the dock.

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